Taking Off: Vermont Chapter of NAWIC Re-Launches
Saturday, April 6, 2024
by: Amanda Ibey

Section: AGC/VT News

women in construction
On December 5, 2023, the Vermont Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) officially signed its charter. Its board of directors expected about 30 people to attend.

The final tally? Close to 80.

“Not that I was pessimistic, but I didn’t expect this level of interest, engagement, or support for our organization to take off as quickly as it has,” said Anne Minor, senior project manager at PC Construction and member of the NAWIC board of directors. “The level of interest from people joining, to businesses and organizations wanting to sponsor our monthly meetings, donate conference space, and share resources has been more than I could have hoped for.”

The Vermont chapter of NAWIC owes its rebirth to Nicole Benton. As a Project Manager for ReArch Company, Benton was searching for ways to improve her knowledge base, expand her leadership opportunities, and learn from other women in the construction field. She came across NAWIC, a national and international organization, which aims to strengthen and amplify the success of women in the construction industry.

Benton became a member of the national chapter, but saw that Vermont lacked its own chapter. Instead of waiting for someone else Benton got the ball rolling. “I knew there were plenty of women in Vermont who would benefit from having a NAWIC chapter, and I knew they’d be interested in joining,” she explained.

Benton was right. In less than three months, the Vermont chapter already has almost 40 members, and it continues growing.

“When I found NAWIC, it felt like it was everything I needed,” said Minor, who also serves on the board of directors at AGC/VT. “There was a gap in my life, and the support and resources that I’ve already found by being a member of the Vermont chapter has already impacted me and my company.”
As Minor shared, NAWIC’s work has stirred PC Construction to buy women-specific PPE. “It sounds like a small thing, but we’ve never had women-specific PPE. That’s just one impact that NAWIC has already had,” she said.

For Lindsey Farrar, the timing was also right. Farrar, who oversees business development and marketing at G.W. Savage, had recently changed careers. After being in insurance as a risk manager and overseeing safety loss prevention and workers comp for 10 years, Farrar was looking for opportunities to connect with more women in the construction field. Farrar got connected to Benton through a former employee at ReArch. “I had already looked into NAWIC, but saw the closest chapter was in New Hampshire, but then I was connected to Nicole. I went to an informational meeting, she organized and I knew right away I had to get involved.”

Word has kept spreading from referrals and through social media.

“I heard about NAWIC through an Instagram post that Lindsey Farrar put out, and without hesitation I knew I had to get involved,” said Stefanie Eichler, Vice President at HUB International New England. “It’s important for women in my field, who may not be directly in the construction world, but affiliated, to have an organization to go to for support, to learn and grow, and to make connections.”

Already many NAWIC members are seeing the value in belonging. “Our NAWIC chapter has already helped me so much,” said Farrar. “We have such a diversity of positions and companies represented that it’s helped open my eyes to see what different companies are doing. This has left me better informed for when I’m prospecting and meeting with clients.”

NAWIC members represent numerous construction-related careers from project managers to engineers, business and development, marketing, insurance, lending institutes, and women working in the field. Any woman employed in the construction field for a minimum of an average of 20 hours per week, per month, is eligible for membership.

The organization meets the second Tuesday of every month and offers in-person and virtual options for its members. While the organization plans to host more events, training courses, and sponsorships, for now, the organization is focused on leadership and professional development and networking opportunities at its monthly meetings.

Each meeting brings in a guest speaker and opens the floor for questions and conversation on topics of interest. In February, the organization focused on women’s empowerment. In April, the sustainability and green projects will be the focus, and in May, it’s mental health awareness.

Different organizations have also stepped forward to donate space and sponsorship for each monthly meeting. In April, AGC/VT hosted NAWIC’s meeting, and in May, the organization will meet at VHV Company.

Although the organization is still in its early stage, it has already caught national attention. In November, the NAWIC New England will hold its annual meeting in Stowe. “As a new chapter, National thought holding the event in Stowe would be a great way to introduce us to our regional partners, and we’re excited for the opportunity,” said Benton.

As NAWIC continues expanding, the board of directors is focused on organizing timely topics, speakers, and educational sessions that will help members expand their knowledge, skills, and connections. And they’re actively encouraging and recruiting more members to join.

“Any woman working in a construction-related job is welcome,” explained Eichler, who also serves on the board of directors at AGC/VT. “I encourage AGC/VT members to encourage their female employees to join, or at least come check us out for one meeting. NAWIC offers women a chance to build great connections, advance their careers, grow their knowledge base, and gain insights into other companies and how they’re doing business, that they can take back to elevate their companies. This truly is a win-win situation for everyone.”


Are you interested in joining NAWIC or do you have employees who could benefit from membership? If so, contact any board member today or visit nawic.org to learn more.

Board of Directors:
Nicole Benton
Lindsey Farrar
Vice President
GW Savage
Anne Minor
PC Construction
Laura Clements
Hoyle Tanner 
Karen Deutscher
PC Construction
Emily Deavers
Mike's Electric